Showdown With Oketra…
This weekend, I DID do an “Hour of Devastation” booster draft for Magic: The Gathering. It was fun…I went with friends, and drafted to an odd set of mechanics, making for fun play with massive shifts in any game I was playing. The new mechanics for the set, as well as some of the cards on their own merit, actually really support these kinds of major changes of fortune, which is very fun to have unfold.
One of the key cards that I drafted, which lent its name to the title, is “Oketra’s Last Mercy.” It costs three mana to play, and rests your life total (the points that you need to stay in the game) to what they were when you STARTED the game. That’s pretty huge…like a “reset” button. I was tending to play it as a “save me from losing” card, or as a set up for some kind of incredible counterattack, both which worked very well. I lost in the last round, to a guy that my group all became friends with, because he was friendly and just enjoyed playing the game. His deck revolved around a card that generates a giant sandwurm, like the ones in “Dune”, EVERY TURN. The whole deck is a waiting game to get that engine started, and when it does…it is rough. I lost that last round two games to one, so I was still pretty competitive.
From that paragraph, you can kind of get how there are massive swings of fortune in the set, and that is an excellent, unpredictable mechanic. A solid finish to the Amonkhet setting.
As for the art…it also directly relates to the booster draft play. In round two, I played a fellow who had a deck that created large numbers of very medium threat creatures…it just kept cranking them out. It was challenging to play against, because no one of the creatures was all that good…but a crowd of them was a problem. I wound up doing a solid win (one loss in the round) by using cards that simply undid the damage being dealt. Still…it very much had me in the mind of these Vulcanoid desert warriors from yesterday.
With low rent 23rd century battle armor using alien technology, and those weird laser lirpa things…figure they would annoy the crap out of Cap having to deal with them. Well, if she can’t just throw them into space. That makes so much easier. However…if each one is wearing some kind of 23rd century exoframe…that makes them more durable, gives a force field and some super strength beyond the half ton of an average Vulcanoid…well, they are going to be a hassle.
That’s pretty much how my middle round game went. That kind of hassle. I wasn’t really in any danger of losing at any given point…but I really had to work to make sure that winning was a thing that was going to happen to me.
The Vulcanoid desert warriors make a good thematic reference here, for the art design of the Amonkhet setting, which is based on the look and feel of Ancient Egypt. I enjoyed myself enough at booster draft, that dealing with these guys (at the behest of Mr. Spock), got a second day artistically.
I’d be surprised if they got a third. Their desert battle suits, although pretty cool looking, are @#$% to draw!
Get to a game store, if you are a Magic player! It’s a very solid release.